By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
The Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved the sum of N8.39 billion for the augmentation of the contract for Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Makera Road.
Also, FEC meeting which took place in the Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja, did not however discuss the increased call by the public for the sack of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami over his past terrorist remarks.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the FEC meeting, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola revealed that Council approved the only memorandum presented by his ministry for approval.
Said he: “The Ministry of Works and Housing presented one memorandum to Council. It was for the augmentation of the contract for Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Makera Road. The portion covering 185 kilometres awarded to CRCC Construction Company.
“The company is seeking an augmentation of the contract sum by N8.39 billion, which was approved and the reason was for price changes, essentially, between 2012 when the contract was awarded, and now. Materials and costs have changed and also the scope of works of the 85 kilometres of the road has to be changed now from rehabilitation to reconstruction because it has deteriorated from when it was awarded 12 years ago. So, Council approved this.
Meanwhile, FEC on Wednesday failed to raise nor discuss the allegations against the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami over his past pro- terrorists’ remarks which he has since denied.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who was one of the Ministers who briefed State House Correspondents after the weekly FEC meeting said the issue was not raised at the meeting.
Pantami was one of the ministers who attended the Council meeting via video link.
Mohammed was asked by journalists during the briefing whether the Council discussed Pantami’s matter and whether the government was comfortable with its burden on its image.
Mohammed responded: “I’m not going to go into the issue of whether government is comfortable or not. I will answer your question directly. It was not discussed at the council meeting.”
The Minister who had been embroiled in controversy over his unearthed comments endorsing some terrorists’ organizations, has however, announced that he has renounced the views.
He said during his daily Ramadan lecture at Annor Mosque in Abuja last Saturday that he now knows better about some of the comments he made in the past.
Pantami had alleged that the campaign against him is politically motivated.
He remarked: “For 15 years, I have moved round the country while educating people about the dangers of terrorism. I have travelled to Katsina, Gombe, Borno, Kano states and Difa in Niger Republic to preach against terrorism.
“I have engaged those with Boko Haram ideologies in different places. I have been writing pamphlets in Hausa, English and Arabic. I have managed to bring back several young persons who have derailed from the right path.
“Some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.
“I was young when I made some of the comments; I was in university, some of the comments were made when I was a teenager.
“I started preaching when I was 13, many scholars and individuals did not understand some of international events and therefore took some positions based on their understanding, some have come to change their positions later.”